Samhain fires to mark Celtic year end this Halloween on Hill of Ward 

Samhain fires to mark Celtic year end this Halloween on Hill of Ward 

The spectacular Samhain fires at the Hill of Ward in Co Meath.

Halloween may not be celebrated in its traditional sense this year but the festival of Samhain will still be marked with a very special spectacle. 

The ancient tradition of lighting the new fires for the Celtic new year on the Hill of Ward in Co Meath will be recreated by the Púca Festival in a pre-recorded stream on Facebook.

Organisers are encouraging people to light a Jack O’Lantern and enjoy a quiet moment after a difficult time as the country progresses through Level 5 of the coronavirus restrictions.

At the Hill of Ward, the five ancient provinces of Ireland will be represented and symbolically reunited in flame.
At the Hill of Ward, the five ancient provinces of Ireland will be represented and symbolically reunited in flame.

The five ancient provinces of Ireland will be represented and symbolically reunited in flame on Halloween night this Saturday by a contemporary reimagining of the Samhain Fires, designed by the Street Theatre Company Luxe. 

Music and poetry by Irish artists will add to the event and the iconic lighting of the Samhain fires caps off an ethereal night of authentic Halloween magic. 

Organised by Fáilte Ireland, the Púca Festival aims to shine a light on the Celtic tradition of Samhain. Marking the end of the harvest season, when all the crops have been picked and stored for the “New Year,” Samhain identified the year end in ancient Celtic times and was a time of celebration.

Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals and Events at Fáilte Ireland said the festival brings some excitement this Halloween after so much disruption. 

"It [Samhain] is a celebration that has taken place for hundreds of years and which will bring a little bit of the excitement and fun back into our lives this Halloween," Ms Sugrue said. 

The Púca lighting of the lamp ceremony marks Samhain.
The Púca lighting of the lamp ceremony marks Samhain.

The changed circumstances this year also offer opportunities to celebrate Halloween in new ways or even rediscover old practices. 

"This year is a perfect year for all of us to rediscover the wonderful old games and traditions that we all grow up with, from bobbing for apples to Bairín Breac,” said Ms Sugrue. 

Broadcast at 8pm on Saturday night this Halloween, people can watch the spectacular torch-lit procession from the Hill of Ward in the comforts of their own home by logging on here.


 

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

New episodes available each Tuesday during December

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence